SoundForest

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
SoundForest App Poster Image
Cool music loop composer best without pay wall, ads.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about composing musical loops and explore concepts of beat, tempo, and layering. An open-ended platform also gives kids the opportunity for creative musical expression.

Ease of Play

Quick tutorial explains it all. It feels more natural to tap and drag music sounds rather than tap and tap, but kids will get used to it.

Violence

Watch ads to unlock more content; some ads may contain violence.

Sex

Watch ads to unlock more content; some ads may contain sexually explicit material. At least one ad showed the back of a woman in lingerie approaching a man sitting on a bed, but ads aren't consistent.

Language
Consumerism

Very limited content available with free download. Make an in-app purchase to unlock everything, or watch ads to unlock more options one by one.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that with SoundForest, kids act as deejay and composer as they use a variety of electronic music sounds to make song loops. Making songs is as easy as tapping little sound icons onto the music board. Note that the audio does not work with your device's regular speaker; kids need to use headphones to hear. SoundForest is a free download, but there's a big difference between the free version and the version you get when you make an in-app purchase of $1.99. The free download includes limited music sounds and a handful of spots for making new songs. Kids can unlock more spots by watching ads, some of which may contain questionable content. The app also often suffers from frequent technical problems. The paid version unlocks all content and all song placeholders, gets rid of the ads, and doesn't have as many functional glitches, so if you want younger kids to play it, it may be worth buying the full version without ads. On the website, there's a tutorial on how to record from your device onto your computer so that you can save and share songs. Note: There was no privacy policy at the time of review.

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What's it about?

Tap sounds to arrange them and make electronic music loops with SOUNDFOREST. There are four environments, each with its own visual theme, 40 unique sounds, and 18 slots for songs. Kids tap an icon to preview its sound, and then tap on the music board to use it in a song. Layer up to six of the same or different sounds in a single beat. Adjust the tempo, and make the loop as long or as short as you want. The free download offers limited content and ads; an in-app purchase unlocks everything.

Is it any good?

A fun animal theme and colorful icons make music loops look as great as they sound, but don't expect to get far with the free download, and do expect ads that might not be appropriate for kids. Though the free version gives a good sense of how SoundForest works, ads and technical glitches interfere with anyone who's serious about composing music loops. The interface is easy to use, and though putting music sounds on the board isn't immediately intuitive, kids will quickly get the hang of it. There's a large selection of available sounds, though they all produce electronica-type music. There's no internal option for exporting songs outside the app, but the developer's website gives a tutorial on how to make a recording from your device. Ultimately, SoundForest is a free, open platform for composing with no help or guidance. Some kids will love it; others may tinker for a bit and then get lost, but -- especially without ads -- it's a fun musical playground for kids who like to explore.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the songs kids create with SoundForest. Listen and compose together. How do you include sounds that go well together?

  • Explore musical concepts like beat, repetition, looping, tempo, and so on to help give kids some context. How does it sound if you speed up the tempo? What if you loop the sounds?

  • Listen to lots of music from a variety of genres. Talk to your kids about what kinds of music they enjoy the most. Encourage them to play an instrument, even something as simple as a homemade drum.   

App details

For kids who love music and creativity apps

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